By Lubinda Sinyani | Melo Media, Saturday, 18th November, 2023
Photo Credit: Asimbuyu Mwangala
Nshima is the staple food in Zambia and is a must-have in every traditional family meal. It is a thick porridge-like dish made from ground maize (corn) flour. Nshima is typically served in a large communal bowl and is eaten with the hands. It is the main source of carbohydrates in the Zambian diet and is often accompanied by various side dishes.
In Zambia, relish refers to the side dishes that accompany nshima. There are numerous types of relish, depending on the region and availability of ingredients. Common relishes include vegetables such as cabbage, pumpkin leaves, and okra, as well as meat or fish dishes. These relishes are usually cooked with onions, tomatoes, and various spices to enhance the flavors.
Kapenta is a popular relish in Zambia, especially in the northern parts of the country. It consists of small dried fish that are usually fried and served with nshima. Kapenta is rich in protein and adds a unique flavor to the meal. It is often enjoyed with a side of vegetables or a tomato-based sauce.
Ifisashi is a traditional Zambian dish made from groundnuts (peanuts) and vegetables such as pumpkin leaves or spinach. The groundnuts are ground into a paste and cooked with the vegetables to create a thick and creamy sauce. Ifisashi is commonly served with nshima and is a favorite among many Zambians.
Chikanda, also known as African polony, is a traditional Zambian snack made from groundnuts and wild orchid tubers. The groundnuts and tubers are pounded together and mixed with various spices before being shaped into small balls and cooked. Chikanda is often enjoyed as a side dish or a snack during family meals.
Munkoyo is a traditional Zambian beverage made from the roots of the munkoyo tree. The roots are pounded and fermented to create a tangy and slightly alcoholic drink. Munkoyo is often served during family meals as a refreshing and traditional beverage option.
Chibwantu is a traditional Zambian dish made from fermented maize. The maize is soaked in water for several days until it ferments and develops a sour taste. It is then cooked and served as a side dish with nshima. Chibwantu is a unique and acquired taste that is enjoyed by many Zambians.
In conclusion, traditional Zambian family meals are centered around nshima, which is accompanied by a variety of relishes such as kapenta, ifisashi, and chikanda. These meals are not only delicious but also reflect the rich cultural heritage of Zambia.
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